Sometimes the words mean too much to me. They are straight from my heart, entangled in my emotions, and they fight to be put to paper. Maybe I want to hold on to them a little longer, bask in what they mean to me. Maybe they are such a part of me that it’s almost too much to reveal.
Today I sat down five times to write about “Flesh and Bone” by The Killers. I knew I wanted to write about something, anything from the album Battle Born. I had to. This album was what I listened to in the midst of my transformation into the writer I am today. These songs are what I listened to, what played through my mind as I allowed the words within me to finally be given life. These songs will always hold a special place in my heart, because in many ways, they set me free. They gave me strength. They were my anthem and battle cry as I moved into a new time of my life.
And yet, I couldn’t make the words fit like I wanted them to. I began. Then I began again. I listened to the song for hours, knowing deeply exactly what it meant to me. I was moved, every time it started over, and still the words wouldn’t flow. They wouldn’t leak onto the page. It was an unsettling feeling. It brought to the forefront my struggles with confidence. It reminded me that sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing. It illustrated just how little I know about writing. It was rather paralyzing.
But I couldn’t walk away completely. So I turned on the song again and let it fill my ears and soul. I closed my eyes as it washed over me. And then it came to the line “What are you afraid of?” And I feel as if those words echoed through my entire being. What are you afraid of?
What am I afraid of?
I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of rejection. I’m afraid of making a mistake. I’m afraid of being stuck. I’m afraid that I’m not doing what I’m meant to do. I’m afraid that I’ve let the best chances in my life pass me by. I’m afraid I’ll always be alone. I’m afraid of being abandoned. I’m afraid that I’m not a good writer. I’m afraid of trusting. I’m afraid I’m not good enough.
I could feel the walls closing in as the fears rushed over me. How was I meant to move on, to accomplish anything with the weight of fear in my heart? Goodness, I couldn’t do it. It was too much. The responsibility, the possibility of a disastrous ending. Was it even worth it?
Then I heard “And what are you made of?” And all I could think of was the verse in 2 Timothy that says “God did not give us a spirit of fear.” I may be made of many things, some which I don’t fully understand, but I am not made of fear. I’m not meant to let fear rule me. I’m made for great things. I’m made to take action. I am made of strength and power and desire. I am made of passion and words and beauty. I am made of so many wonderful things, each given to me by an amazing and loving God, but I am not made of fear.
And “I’m running out of time,” just as the song continues. Because every moment that I let the fear win, I lose the chance to do something brilliant. Whenever I listen to the whispered lies that tell me I can’t do it, that I’ll do it wrong, that I’ll make a mistake, I deny myself the chance to be exactly what God created me to be. I was selected for this life. I am meant to be absolutely everything I am. I am supposed to be a writer. It weighs on me, the need to share the words. And if I don’t pursue that with every part of my soul, one day I’ll look back and realize that it’s too late. I’m flesh and bone, a mere human bound to succumb to the decay of old age, and I’ve run out time to make my dream happen.
We wait for the perfect moment. We want the stars to align and everything to fall into place just so. When that happens, we tell ourselves, then we’ll go after our dream. We’ll pursue what we’ve always hoped for. When the time is right and everything is easy, we’ll watch it happen.
But it’s never easy. Life is a mess of bad timing and overlooked chances. Life won’t wait for the perfect moment. Your dream won’t wait for the perfect moment. We need to be willing to work hard to make it happen. We need to be purposeful and intentional with making our wildest dreams come true. Because if we don’t make them happen, no one else will.
Each day, we lose the chance to do what our heart tells us we are called to do. As the yesterdays pile up, we miss out on the opportunities to be exactly who we are meant to be and do exactly what we are meant to do. And we know it. We see the chances and risks we never took, the once in a life time opportunities in the rearview mirror of our memory. We hold them in our heart with regret, because the fear leaves us stifled. A fear the God has already conquered for us
The line near the end of the song that resonates with me every time is “And you always had it, but you never knew.” Already within me is the potential and ability to be exactly what I’m called to be. I already hold the key to unlocking my dreams inside of me. I need only to recognize and embrace it; facing down the world as I fight for what I want.
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